How are you playing the game of life?
How are you playing the game of life?
Looking at life as a great game is already a well-developed idea. Like many other games it has an ongoing level of success, team members, rules and referees. Society determines the rules and has the legal system and the police to (referee) enforce those rules if breached.
You, like every human being on the day of your birth, are automatically enrolled in the great game of life, and you cannot stop playing until the moment of your death.
Do you know what winning looks like?
How much effort do you make every day to win?
Are you so wrapped up in sub games like making money that you forget the objective of the main game?
To begin with the end in mind, we need to determine what a winner looks like as there is no absolute definition and yet we mostly recognise one when we meet them. I would suggest that a person who achieves the main objective is playing in the top division and can be classified as a winner even if some of their sub-games are below par. It depends on the importance of the sub-game. Losing the health game kills you, and so all other games are off.
I would classify the objective of the game as:
Living a happy, healthy and mentally fulfilled life every day.
The problem occurs in defining happy and mentally fulfilled. Ok, you don’t need to define it, but you will know if you are living it or not.
Although not absolutely essential to winning the overall game, the objective for most people is to play a whole number of sub-games well. With good mental training and attitude, it is possible to achieve the main game objective irrelevant of any sub-game. Indeed, I would urge you to consider (and work towards the mindset) that by total acceptance of any situation you can live a happy and mentally fulfilled life despite what is happening in your life situation.
It’s not the situation that’s usually the problem it’s the perspective you have on it.
Having said that, let’s look at the benefits of considering life as a game and what it brings to you.
The main purpose of playing games is to enjoy them and help other players enjoy them too. Are you enjoying the game day to day or do you get upset merely because the game is difficult and you suffer setbacks as a result?
Games can help you grow mentally, in that a player who takes a game seriously (but not so seriously as to cheat or be a sore loser) will work to develop their knowledge and skills of different parts of the game so as to improve their performance in the overall game. Are you constantly working on improving your skills and knowledge in the different parts of your game?
Great players take on coaches and have a support team to help them in different parts of the game where they may be weak or help them maintain strength.
Do you have mentors, coaches and a support team to help you in different parts of your game or do you really believe you can do it all yourself?
Great players apply time to train and practice intensely to improve. How much time, money and energy do you apply to train and practice to improve?
The mindset and attitude you bring to the practice and the game itself is a huge factor in determining the results you achieve. How tenacious and committed are you to improving your games? Do you constantly moan about the rules, circumstances or other players or simply do everything in your power to improve your game – despite the cards you are dealt. You can always lose the odd hand, but you only lose the game by giving up.
For all professional sports teams what happens on a rolling basis is:
- Performance is constantly monitored
- Strengths and weaknesses are identified
- Goals for improvement with deadlines are set
- Training programs are implemented to try and achieve even minor improvements in many different areas
- Feedback and performance are measured regularly and training adjusted to drive improvements.
Identify all the sub-games in your life and apply a professional teams “never ending improvement” approach:
- The wonderful spouse game
- The brilliant parent game
- The financial well-being and peace of mind game
- The excellent personal health and vitality game
- The vision and long-term planning game
- The personal organisation and self-discipline game
- The great friends and strong family relationships game
- The satisfying career or own business game
- The living life for a purpose game
- The great and varied experiences game
- The regular fun and laughter game
- The happy and mentally fulfilled game
All of these sub-games are being played every day. If you concentrate on one game (like financial well-being) and let the others slip, your chances of winning the overall game are significantly reduced. Keep the main game in mind not the sub games.
The purpose of the game is not to acquire a mountain of gold.
Just because your pot of gold takes a big hit does not put you out of the game. In fact, many of the winners of the game have no gold at all – Mother Teresa, Mahatma Gandhi to name a few.
I have a friend who on almost every sub-game is a winner, but fails significantly in the health and vitality game. He says he is not bothered by his weight and fully understands the long-term impact on his health but I wonder if he has just given up because that particular game is too hard for him. It’s easy to say I don’t really care. It’s much harder to work on your habits and skills to improve. I wonder will winning all the other games be super-seeded if he falls into serious illness like diabetes as a result. On his death bed, the richest man in the world would give up all his wealth for one more year of healthy living
I urge you to consider life a great game, with a large number of sub-games – all of which you work hard to improve on to win and stay winning. You cannot expect to win every hand – there will be setbacks or else you are playing at too low a level. If it’s too easy, set your standards higher – a life without healthy challenges is pretty boring. Look at short term failures as feedback that you need to improve and don’t be a sore loser – you are just being tested to check your commitment to the game of life.
So, how are you playing the game of life? If you do not pay sufficient attention to any sub-game, your overall game may suffer – like having one bad player on your team. A few bad players and you end up playing in the lower leagues and never fulfil your potential.
In the end, if you leave the field of play having given everything and have really enjoyed the main game – that’s all you can hope to do.
Enjoy the journey
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